Applebee’s to take grill restaurants across Asia


SHANGHAI — Applebee’s International Inc., which operates around 2,000 grill restaurants mostly in North America, plans a rapid expansion drive in Asia that will focus on China, India and Southeast Asia.

The firm, who’s motto is “eatin’ good in the neighborhood,” opened its first Asian restaurant in Shanghai on Friday, and another two in the city should be open by the end of 2008.

“China is a springboard for us for all of Asia,” Rohan George, president in charge of international business, told Reuters in an interview.

“Our timetable is based on how we grow in China,” George said. “As our model takes shape, we’ll start moving very quickly.”

Applebee’s, which has opened on average 100 new restaurants a year since 1993, is looking at expansion into India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, George said.